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Philippines: Woman receives life sentence for online sexual exploitation of children

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Philippines: Woman receives life sentence for online sexual exploitation of children

Taguig City, Philippines - A woman who created child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM), including live video streams, was sentenced to reclusion perpetua (which is equivalent to life sentence) on October 15. This brings the number of convictions for online sexual exploitation of children during the community quarantine to 15, in cases supported by International Justice Mission (IJM).

Judge Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores of Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 163 found the accused guilty of violating R.A. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) in relation to R.A. 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act). Aside from being sentenced to reclusion perpetua, the perpetrator was also ordered to pay a fine of P2 million and pay each of her three victims 500,000 in moral damages and 100,000 in exemplary damages.

This marks the 15th conviction won in cases supported by IJM during the community quarantine.

The case stemmed from a referral from the Australian Federal Police who arrested in 2015 a child sex offender in Australia. The offender admitted to viewing CSEM and livestreams of child sexual abuse from the Filipino perpetrator.

IACAT Executive Director Jinky Dedumo had this to say about the conviction: “I’m elated that we’re able to secure another conviction against a perpetrator of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. My hope is that this conviction helps hasten the healing for the three survivors. We can see how government prosecutors are fully committed to this work of delivering justice to all children whose lives have been turned upside down by this horrendous crime.”

Assistant City Prosecutor Dave Go, for his part, said: “We are thankful for the decision of Presiding Judge Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores." He continued,

"May this serve as a constant reminder that sexual exploitation of children has no place in any society. We pray that the children find peace and healing.”

Atty. Reynaldo Bicol, Director of IJM Manila Field Office, said: “We commend our justice system partners for yet another conviction, this one being the fifteenth during the community quarantine, which sends the clear message that perpetrators of online sexual exploitation of children will not go unpunished. The Philippine Government has now convicted over 100 persons for engaging in this crime, and IJM is committed to supporting prosecution of these cases until justice is served to all victims.”

Online sexual exploitation of children is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million. Typical OSEC offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and RA 9775 (Anti‐Child Pornography Act of 2009). Both have penalties equivalent to 20 to 40 years imprisonment. ###

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